Course overview

In 2024, the National Gallery celebrates the 200th anniversary of its foundation. This is a great occasion to come back on the gallery’s fascinating history, from 1824 to 2024, and discover some of the collection’s highlights. Why was the National Gallery created, and how? What does it mean to be “the nation’s painting collection”? How do acquisitions happen? What are the visitors’ favourite paintings? How are the paintings preserve? We will answer these questions and more over this course.

Course description

The National Gallery is a world-famous art collection, attracting thousands of visitors every day. It was created in 1824, some 200 years ago. This anniversary is the occasion to (re)discover the history of this popular museum. Over six weeks, we will look at the development of the gallery’s collection, and see the evolution of taste and of the canon. While some works are relegated to store rooms, some masterpieces seem not to age, and remain the visitors’ favourites decade after decade. We will come back on the National Gallery’s foundation and its purpose as the nation’s painting collection, and an art museum for all. We will compare it with other British, European and American art museums and define what’s making this one special. We will retrace some of the key moments of its history, such as its role during the Second World War. We will then look at some key works of art in its carefully acquired collection, some “highlights”. Finally, we will touch on lesser-known subjects, such as conservation stories, as well as issues of museography, i.e. the display of works of art in the museum. In this context, we will have a good look at some of the frames.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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